Denise Roche
Parliament needs to curb gambling harm

Te Ururoa Flavell’s Gambling (Gambling Harm reduction) Amendment Bill should be going through some of its latter stages in the House this week.  Sadly the Green Party is no longer supporting this legislation due to some pretty massive changes that were made at the select committee stage.

The aims of the original bill to give communities the power to cut the number of pokie machines in their area, or eliminate them altogether, were gutted during this process.

Another significant area that was changed concerned provisions to prevent gambling funds being utilised by the racing industry – especially as stake money.   The original Bill aimed to stop the crazy situation where pokie addiction was funding another form of gambling!  Sadly this provision was also gutted at the select committee stage.

Pokie money should not be used to fund the racing industry.  That is why the Green Party has drafted a supplementary order paper (SOP) that if successful would honour the original intent of Te Ururoa’s Bill to stop this happening.

I’m hoping Labour MPs will be supporting this SOP.  The changes to our gambling laws that allowed this to happen occurred under Labour in the early 2000s.  It will also be interesting to see how New Zealand First MPs vote given Winston Peters tenure as a former Minister Responsible for the horse racing industry and comments supporting the status quo.

Labour themselves have been busy organising some interesting supplementary order papers.  Trevor Mallard makes the interesting point that gambling law should be aligned with the sale of liquor laws.  If Trevor’s SOP was successful then SkyCity and other casinos would be forced to close down for a few hours a day rather than running 24/7.

3 thoughts on “Parliament needs to curb gambling harm

  1. It is true; if you are a community group like a football team, museum, school, drama club, life saving rescue group, whatever, then the (evil) Honourable Trevor Mallard hates you, and wants to remove pokie machine funds from you.

    His “Vision” (should it be accepted by the House, inserted as Section 3A) states: “New Zealand will aim to reduce the number of gaming machines to 10,000 by 1 January 2025″.

    The funny thing is, at the current rate of machine removal, we’ll be down to 10,000 machines by 2022…

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a textbook example of how to play politics.

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  2. Right DB,
    That’s that one dealt with.
    Now, about these other things that can harm a human.

    How about the harm walking can do? If no one ever walked, there would never be hip degeneration, and so we eliminate something that hurts people.

    Then there’s fire! Right now I’m breathing in the fumes from someone’s fire, so lets get rid of all fires and save a lot of lungs from harm.

    Next? Well, I suppose alcohol is another human invention that’s gone wrong, so lets spend, say, $3 billion a year (that’s less than $1,000 per head of population) for the next 20 years and truly eliminate alcohol in all it’s forms from our lands.

    Finally, THE WHEEL!!! This is the most odious of humankind’s inventions, it causes more deaths, directly and indirectly, than anything else on earth other than age and disease. If New Zealand sets the example, and eliminates all forms of wheel, we will. Have started the world off on a harm elimination path that could literally change the future of man/woman/persons.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, while it’s a bit of a challenge, the elimination of gender would solve a few problems that cause harm, I wonder if there was something that could be done at birth to de-sex all children (except a few for breeding perhaps,) and eliminate that most harmful of all attributes of human life – sex ???

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  3. It is quite funny, Dave, in the “harm” and “risk” are often inextricably linked, but the general populace is incredibly bad at estimating and understanding risk.

    My favorite example is the mad cow disease scare in the UK a couple of decades back. The one where the then minister of health was seen stuffing a (beef) burger into his daughters mouth to “prove” beef was “safe”. (The daughter rejected the burger, not because it was horrible or deadly, but it was just too hot – a wonderful TV moment, and a PR disaster)

    Thanks to the wonder of YouTube, we can relive this moment in history, [click], about 26 seconds in.

    The population understood that there was indeed a risk of a human getting BSE from beef purchased at the local butcher’s, and dying from it. This was enough to completely eradicate beef sales for a while. What the populace didn’t understand was the scale of the risk. One was many times more likely to die on the way to or from the butchers in an automobile accident than one was from BSE. Had people understood this, would they have bought beef? Or stopped driving?

    Never take the stairs rather than the lift; That’s a deadly choice.

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